Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kick-Start

Things were getting stale here in my world here in Cardiff, but I'm happy to report that a trip abroad seems to have kick-started me back into action again. I felt a little groggy during the first couple of days back in the country, but Friday (thankfully) kicked off an eventful weekend.

Friday evening, I was lucky enough to prove my Manic Street Preachers fan credentials enough for my current gig-buddy, Becca, to take me along to the Cardiff leg of their current tour as they promote their new album, 'Send Away the Tigers'. They managed to play a song or two from every single one of their (Eight?) albums. The gig was nothing short of outstanding, I don't think I've ever got goosebumps from just watching a band play live before (Maybe once actually, I went to see a Swedish rap band at an outdoor festival - but I only got goosebumps because it was cold and I wasn't sensible enough to take a sweater with me).

Saturday was spent catching up with everyone in the local pub, and by catching up with everyone I mean drinking a couple of pints before switching to sambucca's and watching sport, barely saying a word. All attempts to control our sambucca consumption had failed and later that evening we waded into a Eurovision Party already in full flow and increased the pace a little. The Eurovision song contest this year was nothing short of hilarious, Terry Wogan had us all rolling around with laughter as did the absolutely abysmal acts - the super strength Cosmopolitans and a rather dodgy bottle of Thai whisky somehow didn't temper our spirits.

After the Eurovision climaxed, we headed into town to see what goodies awaited us. We stumbled into our favourite Irish bar, Dempseys, where I ended up in conversation with a hot Norwegian girl....

Hot Norwegian Girl : Do you tempt women into the woods with your dazzling blue eyes and have your way with them?
Curly : Not often, what about you? You also have dazzling blue eyes.
HNG : Yes, I tempt men into the woods all the time, I even have a tail and my last name is Hell(e).
Curly : Wow! So what is it you do when you're not doing that?
HNG : Oh, I'm a teacher.
Curly : Lolcano
HNG : Lollerskates.

Want to come into the woods and play?... Oh, I dunno - scrabble or something?... No?... Well, can you fetch me a blanket then, it's quite cold sitting here in the woods on my own - some biscuits wouldn't go amiss either.

Which brings me onto my question for today...

What is the best way you've messed up a (previously) guaranteed kiss/shag?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Baltic Bar Crawl

Three intrepid adventurers arrived back from their mini-tour around the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, their life force almost completely drained, there wasn't a clean item of clothing between them and their concept of time had reached a level which not even Dr.Who could comprehend.

But without a doubt they had a trip which was nothing short of Cawesome*.

London

No trip abroad should be attempted with a clear head as we all know, so on the Friday before we departed we arranged to meet a bunch of people in London. I found LĂ©onie wandering around in Camden and decided it would be best to have a couple of drinks before anyone else, a very good decision in my opinion. Afterwards we headed to Tottenham Court Road where we were joined by a host of other pals, we drank beer, chatted about Goldfish and laughed a lot, of course.

Sweden

We partied with friends in Uppsala for Valborg - a spring festival which is the biggest holiday in Sweden. We watched home-made rafts sail down the river, we danced at roof parties, we slept in strangers rooms and made new friends as a result, we ate meatballs, we drank copious amounts of red wine & vodka, got annoyed at the System Bolaget closing all the time and laughed until we cried.

Swedish Meatballs, Canadian and Welsh chefs

Stockholm was a beautiful place, it was my second time there and it hadn't changed much. It's hard to find a pub, but the archipelago and the beautiful buildings more than make up for that. My Stockholm tip - stay up all night and walk around the city, half-cut, for the 4:30am sunrise on your own. Also, take a camera... I didn't and am regretting it.

Finland

Our only port of call was Helsinki, we ate in a Tractor-themed bar, moaned about the price of alcohol, cheered up when we found some cheaper out-of-town (dodgy) places, we got cold and wet as a result of the weather, we hauled some unfortunate American girls out on the town with us and visited the Ice bar, we didn't go to the fairground despite a local saying "It's pretty much the only thing to do in Helsinki". There are some gems of buildings around if you can find them...

Zetor (Tractor) Bar

Finland was marred by a particularly nasty nights sleep, I'd stayed up all night in Stockholm and only managed to sleep for about an hour on our arrival in Helsinki. We went out exploring all the same, but decided to call it an night pretty early on. I climbed onto the top bunk-bed to catch some much-needed sleep. Almost instantly I noticed that no less than four of the people in my room were snoring heavily, at one point they were out of synch so much, there was a constant snore.... I couldn't sleep at all and I was in agony. Just when I trained myself to block out the snoring, my bed started rocking back and forth. The (stinking) old man in the bunk below me had decided to treat himself to a bit of "me time". As he increased the pace, he made more disgusting noises (in Finnish I assume) and the bed rocked harder and harder - I placed a pillow over one ear and stuck my finger in the other, I closed my eyes and almost cried myself to sleep. I told the boys of my harrowing experience in the morning, on the ferry out of Helsinki - they confessed that that incident had been the highlight of their trip so far.

Estonia

Old Town Tallinn is beautiful, the buildings have character, colour and the streets wind around like a maze, making it fun to get around (unless you're in a rush). Unfortunately, only a few days before we arrived, there had a been a couple of nights of rioting over the Estonian government moving a Russian war-memorial - many windows had been smashed and never out of sight were groups of police patrolling the streets. We visited Joel's bar, but there was no Joel in town for reasons posted on his bl*g. It was quite possibly my favourite bar in Tallinn (we managed to see in the region of 11), but short of people. In fact, there was almost nowhere busy on a Sunday or Monday night.

Shots of death

We sampled the local beers, I had an off day and spend the whole time moping around, which the other two found hilarious, we drank shots to make it better. After the shots we danced, ran from a huge Estonian who was offended by Bledd's name, upset Russian mafia members and then ran from them too - which became our new highlight of the trip...

Wales

Dying.

It'll take a while to get used to this place again, I've already got smoked a couple of times as a result of looking the wrong way when crossing the road. It's cold, wet and it gets dark early. But there is always a pub in sight, good times.


* Cool and Awesome, how did you not know that?